Three Days at Mt. Sinai

post date: September 23, 2011

With Pastor H.B. Charles Jr and Pastor George Hurtt.
A few years ago–about eight years ago, I suppose–I received an email out of the blue from a man named H.B. Charles, Jr. who wrote to ask me a question about something I had written about preaching. I didn’t know him or the church he pastored, Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles. Through an email correspondence we became friends. In 2007 he invited me to preach for him. A few months later he moved across the country to become the Senior Pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. I had the privilege of speaking there several years ago.

Meanwhile his associate at Mt. Sinai, George Hurtt, became the pastor after H.B. moved to Jacksonville. When Pastor Hurtt (who is also a good friend) invited me to speak this week at Mt. Sinai, I was glad to accept, especially because H.B. was coming also. So on Monday I flew to Los Angeles for three unforgettable nights at the Mt. Sinai “Church Institute.” At 6 PM every night I talked to a group of pastors about expository preaching. What started as a lecture became a free-flowing discussion as we shared together the joys and challenges of preaching God’s Word. At 7:15 PM the evening service started with some rousing music followed by my “lecture,” the term they used to describe my 15-20 minute talks on discipleship. A little later in the service H.B. gave the main message each night. He spoke three times on 1 Peter 1:3-9, going deep into the text, showing us what it means to praise God in our trials and in spite of our trials. On the last night he spoke on “The Believer’s View of the Unseen Christ.” I can’t remember when I’ve heard a more powerful message. The congregation talked to him as he preached: “Amen,” “That’s right,” “My Lord,” “Work, Preacher, work!” and “Glory!” Every night the congregation came to its feet as the preacher came to the climax of his message. It was emotional, powerful, passionate, and very authentic worship.

I’m glad I went to Los Angeles because it did my soul great good to be with the saints of God at Mt. Sinai. It’s also good to experience worship in a different key, so to speak. But as I’ve found around the world, when you are around the Lord’s people, you are at home wherever you go. Which is to say that even though I was a long way from home, I felt right at home at Mt. Sinai. 

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